In a very manly shed out the back of his home Will Brennan potters away day after day creating beautifully hand-crafted furniture. Two large roller doors supply the shed with lots natural light and fresh air. The pleasantly, stuffy smell of saw dust fills the air as Will saws, glues and clamps pieces of wood to make his designs. He’s kept company by his two friendly dogs who lounge about in the bright afternoon sunshine. What a very lovely and satisfying space to work in…..
How long have you been making furniture? What pushed you to make the leap to full time furniture design?
I made my first table setting for my parent’s backyard around 10 years ago. I hated full timber settings as they wear and loosen over the years if they aren’t looked after. So I made sure i used `steel within the design to sure everything up. That table is still there and not wobbling after all this time with little maintenance.
I also used to make furniture in my days off from shift work at the local Cadia mine. I had a few small commissions to keep me busy and I really enjoyed it as a second income but primarily as a hobby. The decision to go full time came after 6 months travelling with my now fiancé. I didn’t have to leave a job to make the decision which made it a bit easier to make. I always had the "what if" question looming in my brain. It’s nearly been 12 months and although it’s been an emotional roller coaster I wouldn’t have done it any differently.
Describe your creative process. How do you begin your designs?
Originally I started just designing and making but it just got a bit dangerous to invest time and money on something that people might not want to buy if they can just custom order anyway. I use Google Sketchup a lot which helps the client get the head around how the final piece is going to look. There is usually a lot of back and forth between myself and the client before we get to a design that is practical, cost effective and also achievable.
How do you source and choose your materials?
Each job really relies on the client and how they would like there whole look to be. Some enjoy recycled materials with a story while others like everything modern and new. The choice in materials that I use comes down mainly to what it is going to be used for. Something like a kitchen top I will use a tough and strong timber like Victorian Ash while if they are shelves that need character I will use something like Oregon. I currently have a truckload of old timber from my uncles property on the Mid-North coast at Wauchope. The timber was cut around the 1890’s and consists of rosewood, mahogany, blackbutt and tallowood which are all native in that area. Also any recycled timber that people may give me or I find on the internet with sites like Gumtree.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I would describe my designs modern industrial but there are many words people use. I am currently working on a King size bed frame which will scream rustic, so it’s really whatever the client wants the client gets. One day I would like people to enjoy and purchase my designs. But until then, just as Roy Orbison said, ‘Anything you want, you got it!’